Rio, Brazil Global Health Mission

We partnered with the YMCA of Rio de Janeiro to offer free dance fitness classes. The classes were very well received and we look forward to go back to Brazil for more global health fitness initiatives. It’s important to note that this is thee first and oldest YMCA in South America. It was founded in Rio de Janeiro in 1893. The YMCAs look for helping to meet the needs and hopes of the community throughout social, cultural, spiritual and physical education programs, contributing to a better quality of life.

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A little bit about Brazil…. It’s a big South American country with a population of about 200.7 million people (as of 2016). The country stretches from the Amazon Basin in the north to vineyards and massive Iguaçu Falls in the south. Rio de Janeiro where we travelled for our global health fitness mission is a city famous for its tall and big Christ the Redeemer statue which sits on top of Mount Corcovado. The city also has busy and beautiful beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. Every year, this city hosts the largest Carnival in the world, which features samba music and dance, flamboyant costumes, parade floats and flamboyant costumes, and samba music and dance. Brasilia is the capital city.

Brazil’s Health Profile

The healthcare in Brazil is a constitutional right. All Brazilian permanent residents or legal citizen, foreign residents included are entitled to receive free public healthcare through the national universal healthcare system known as SUS. To receive care, they need to produce a Brazilian identification card and a SUS card. Both the private and government institutions provide the health care. However, primary healthcare is solely the responsibility of the federal government, which some elements of it being overseen by the local government, such as the operation of hospitals. A majority of Brazilian residents, round 70 per cent, use public hospitals.

Although government hospitals and clinics offer good medical services, they are often crowded because they are free and there’s a long waiting time to receive care in facilities that may not be as good as the private ones with better medical equipment and air condition, especially in rural areas. As a result, about 30 per cent of Brazilian residents opt for private hospitals where they pay out of pocket or use private medical insurance.

According to the current information available on the Center of Disease Control (CDC), here are the Top 10 health issues (deaths) affecting Brazil:

  1. Low Back & Neck Pain 6%
  2. Ischemic Heart Disease 6%
  3. Cancer 4%
  4. Diabetes 4%
  5. Lower Respiratory Infections 3%
  6. Diarrheal Disease 2%
  7. Diabetes 2%
  8. Interpersonal Violence 3%
  9. Iron-deficiency anemia 2%
  10. HIV/AIDS 2%

It is also important to note that the life expectancy at birth is 79 (women), 71 (men). The informant mortality rate is 19/1000 live births.

According to Brazil’s Ministry of Health, the country is committed to reducing obesity in its population by 2019. This will be achieved mainly by reducing the consumption of sugary beverages by 30% and by increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables. The ministry also vows to strengthen health promotion and disease prevention activities, improving information systems for better management and transparency, and expanding the use of electronic health records to avoid duplication of diagnostic exams and to better monitor prescription medications.

An interesting health fact about Brazil is that, it has the largest organ transplantation system in the world, with about 24.9 million transplants a year.

It is also interesting to note that Brazil is one of the leading medical tourism destinations in South America and most of the private hospitals in there have excellent medical facilities.


See more pictures from Rio:

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